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Ragù Bolognese

8 Cups

3¼ hours 40 minutes active

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This recipe makes enough ragù for Lasagna Bolognese with enough leftovers for another night's pasta dinner. Try to purchase pancetta in a large chunk from the deli counter, and if it comes in casing-like plastic, make sure to remove and discard the wrap before use. The next best option is packaged already diced pancetta; if pre-sliced is the only option, it will work, but will cost a lot more and requires less time in the food processor. We add a bit of powdered gelatin to give the ragù a rich, velvety body that otherwise would require a lengthy simmer to achieve. The finished ragù can be cooled to room temperature and refrigerated for up to three days.




Don’t trim the fat from the beef and pork. The fat makes the ragù rich and supple, and carries the flavors of the other ingredients. Don’t process the beef and pork too finely; a coarse grind yields the best-textured sauce.

3¼ hours

40 minutes active


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Jolea S.
August 11, 2023
Delicious and easy!
I love making this - it's so easy and the quantity is enough for several meals for my husband and me. We live in a rural area and oftentimes I have to substitute the meat cuts (I can never find beef short ribs here) but it's delicious no matter what I end up using.
Bill M.
June 14, 2023
Quite Good
This recipe is similar to a previous favorite, but better because of the slightly elevated quantities of meat. Today is the second time I’ve made it. The first time was too watery. This time I took the lid off after 2.5 hours, and though better, it’s still kind of watery at the 3 hr. mark, so I’ll simmer a bit longer. Next time I’ll probably cut in some veal for part of the beef. But this recipe is such a keeper.
Diane T.
December 3, 2022
Just thinking about this sauce makes my mouth water!
I have made this multiple times & it is always a crowd-pleaser.
Kari R.
June 18, 2022
Fantastically authentic
I love this ragu. I follow the recipe exactly and get great results every time.
Leslie L.
October 16, 2022
Spiced it up
I added two teaspoons of Italian seasoning and 1 teaspoon of garlic salt plus lots of black pepper to spice it up. The glob of gelatin unnerved me at first but did make the sauce very velvety.
Nicki K.

used homemade beef broth so did not need gelatin

Diana L.

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Mary Ann J.

When I watched the episode, they drained the liquid from the tomatoes and said it made it to thin. Maybe that is why.

Mary Ann J.

I can't wait to try this. I have made several different recipes and looking for the best. Have always used milk so this will be the test. I will post the outcome! Love this site!!!

Karin D.

Excellent sauce, very easy to make. I really enjoyed how flavorful it was without the need for garlic or lots of herbs and spices. Had to use bacon due to lack of pancetta, but was still amazing.

Myrna A.

Is there another cut of beef as substitute to the short ribs?

Allison S.

We used chuck roast in place of the short ribs and it was fantastic. No complaints!

Gwendolyn J.

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naomi s.

why isn't my sauce as red as the picture? Should I add more tomato paste?


Did you use Hunt's canned tomatoes? Those things are insipid. It is night and day using the Italian tomatoes. The only issue I have with the Italian brands is that they are in puree, not juice, so draining them is sometimes not easy, but then again, I often just dump the puree in too. I likea lotta tomatoes.

Leigh B.

1st time used to make Lasagne Bolognese and it was delicious!
2nd time going to substitute the pork shoulder with 1 lb of pork belly... to be continued.

David T.

Boneless beef ribs is hard for us to find. Is there a suitable substitute?

Cathy c.

I've made the recipe using ground beef and ground pork instead of pork shoulder and short ribs. Was fantastic.

Randy H.

Short rib is basically, well not basically, it actually is chuck

David T.

Boneless beef ribs is hard for us to find. Is there a suitable substitute?

Richard R.

Don't over-process the meats - chunkier is better

JEff T.

can i use all pork shoulder & pancetta my wife does not eat beef

JEff T.

can we make without the beef with just shoulder & pancetta?


You can do whatever you want. It can't be called bolognese, but you can do it. Sounds terrible.

Kevin E.

How does the ragu freeze? Meaning, can I freeze it? I’m making a triple batch and I’d like to have it a few times this month....FYI, Costco has great boneless short rib meat.

Lynn C.

Hi Kevin -

Yes! You can definitely freeze this bolognese. We've done it a bunch of times.

The Milk Street Team

celeste b.

Awesome ! Thanks! As I am now doubling the recipe, to leave some for my pet sitter

Jacqueline R.

Hi Milkstreet,
Can I sub red wine for the white? Will it change the flavor of the sauce?

Lynn C.

Hi Jacqueline -

I don't think it will make a huge difference in flavor as long as you choose the right red wine. We chose white wine here because it's traditionally made with local Pignoletto white wine. The higher acidity balances the fat from the meat. If you do decide to make it with a red wine, choose a higher-acidity red wine such as Sangiovese, Chianti, etc.

The Milk Street Team

Linda L.

My husband love bolognese. I can take it or leave it - until I tried this recipe. Yum! My only feedback is that in the instructions it said to rough chop the veggies in the food processor. I would chop the carrots separately finer as they didn’t break up as well in the sauce. Will most certainly do again. Company worthy! I think it will be even better the next day.

John b.

Woohoo!!! This is amazing. Wife actually said about the lasagna, this is the best thing I've ever eaten! She just walked by this morning and said their is no way to describe that dish you made last night. She's lived and traveled all over the world. In-law couldn't believe it, was actually speechless!!! and she is an amazing cook. I cooked as outlined. Had to trim off the bone of short ribs as they didn't have boneless but no big deal. Will use the bones to make future broth. Thought it was too watery, but refrigerated overnight... warmed it up the next day, added the gelatin and it was perfect. Encourage everyone to go the extra step and make the lasagna. It is simply fantastic. Thank you Milk Street!

Amanda C.

Could the simmer time be done in a slow cooker? I'm planning on making the ragu ahead of time and curious if it would be along the lines of 7-9 hours on low or 5-7 on high? Thoughts? I'm really looking forward to trying this recipe!!

Lynn C.

Hi Amanda -

We wouldn't recommend simmering this in a slow cooker. The bolognese needs evaporation in order to thicken during simmering and the slow cooker does not allow for evaporation.

The Milk Street Team

Charlotte B.

i will be making this recipe soon! How much salt was added? How acidic was the sauce?

Ted K.

I love the flavor and will make it again. The next time, I will use a shredding disc in the food processor for the vegetables to get a more uniform result. I stirred the sauce once every 30 minutes during cooking and ended up with substantial burn-on above my (medium-low) flame. I will stir more frequently next time. I suspect that will give me fond instead of burn. I also wonder why the oven isn't used to achieve the evaporation.


Has anyone ground their own meat in an actual meat grinder? If so, did you use the large holes or small? Did you get the consistency equal to what they got on the show? I saw that the Italians used a ground beef/pork, so figure Milk Street used the food processor assuming not everyone has a meat grinder, but most of us will have a processor. I think I'm going to try grinding it on the large die and see if it will cook down to a nice consistancy. Anyone that has done so, any tips you have would be appreciated.

Ambrose S.

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Sarah F.

Sarah F.
I can't wait to make this recipe! Do you think that I can prepare and refrigerate the lasagna the day before serving and cook the next day? Thanks in advance.

Lynn C.

Hi Sara -

For best results, we recommend making the ragu and bechamel ahead and assembling right before baking (soak the noodles right before too). Although it *might* be OK if left overnight in the fridge assembled, our concern is that the noodles will soak up too much of the sauce as it sits and there won't be enough to keep the lasagna moist. Just make sure to re-warm both sauces before assembling.

The Milk Street Team

celeste b.

I followed the recipe to a tee and it was perfection ! Now I’m doubling the ragu to freeze some and will do the bechemal sauce tomorrow (I won’t freeze this) but wonder if I can 🤷‍♀️

celeste b.

I followed the recipe to a tee and it was perfection ! Now I’m doubling the ragu to freeze some and will do the bechemal sauce tomorrow (I won’t freeze this) but wonder if I can 🤷‍♀️

Virna C.

There was a lot of fat that rose up after the sauce cooled down. Not sure if I should remove the extra fat or leave it with the sauce. Any advice?

Lynn C.

Hi Virna -

That can happen depending on how fatty your meat was to start with. You can skim off as much as you would like or stir it back into the meat mixture. We would recommend leaving at least some of the fat to keep the mixture unctuous and moist.

The Milk Street Team